In The News

FOX 13 News


FOX 13 News

"TAMPA (FOX 13) - Vera Farmen prides herself on eating organic and has turned her passion for fresh food into a successful business. Fruit of the Vine Organics provides quality, hand-picked fruits and vegetables to fellow healthy eaters in the Bay area. "You get hooked, once you try them and realize what fresh food tastes like. There's no substitute," Vera said. What started as a hobby has now grown from nine customers to 500. She credits her success to providing quality. "Look at this pretty tomato, isn't that gorgeous" she said, showing off her produce. Each week, Vera travels to local farms where she personally picks the menu. Customers then order through her website and pick up their goodies at Cru Cellars in South Tampa every Monday. "Everything is so fresh, just picked yesterday over in Seffner," boasts Vera. Vera's passion for quality started when she was a kid. She grew up learning that food is medicine. "My father taught me you can spend your money on good food and quality ingredients or spend money on doctors. And I believe that whole heartedly," she said. She shares that mindset with her family. A mother of three, Vera feels good about knowing where her food comes from and that they're eating the best, cleanest food she can find. It's not easy juggling motherhood and her own business, but she manages by making everything a family affair. It's not unusual for my husband to drive to Dover on a Sunday to pick up strawberries, or my kids, they come here after school and help," Farmen said. Working beside her family while helping the community stay healthy is what fuels her. "It's a pleasure because it's what I love. I have access to all these wonderful products. I'm helping local farmers. And I'm helping families feed their kids well," she said." 

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Tampa Bay Times

"Fruit of the Vine Organics teams up with Cru Cellars wine shop"

"Fruit of the Vine Organics owner Vera Farmen and Cru Cellars' sommelier Jennifer Bingham brainstormed to offer their respective customers a new service. Every Monday, preordered baskets of fresh organic fruits and vegetables may be picked up at the South Tampa wine shop from 3 to 7 p.m. Prices start at $35 for a half-bushel of a mixture of fruits and vegetables; $40 for a half-bushel of all fruit. A full bushel of mixed fruit and veggies is $55. A bottle of organic wine to accompany it starts at $12.99, Bingham said. Farmen started Fruit of the Vine Organics in her Davis Islands dining room with nine friends. When the business outgrew her home, Bingham offered Cru Cellars as a convenient outlet. The two women met in September at an Ohio Wesleyan University reunion held at Cru Cellars. Bingham, who graduated in 2004, and Farmen, a 1989 grad, clicked. In addition to the produce, shoppers receive a newsletter with suggested wine pairings and recipes featuring that week's seasonal offerings. For more information, call Cru Cellars, 2506 S MacDill Ave., at (813) 831-1117."


The List

'Fruit of the Vine' grows organically from dining room to unique farmer's market

"TAMPA, Fl. - Part of any summer ‘tune-up’ is eating plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables. But it’s not always easy to find the fresh, local, and organic produce.  Local entrepreneur Vera Farmen has found a way. Every Monday, she turns a South Tampa Wine store, Cru Cellars, into an organic market called Fruit of the Vine Organics. The market serves up baskets full of colorful produce, just waiting for a home.From blueberries to broccoli to patty-pan squash, there’s something different every week.“My children love fruit, that’s one of the reasons I got into this business,” said Farmen.Vera got into the business out of frustration in trying to find local, fresh, organic produce for her own family.  Stores offered limited options, and even co-ops came with their own set of problems.  Then, along with a few friends, an idea began to sprout.“I started it literally with nine people. I did it in my dining room, on my dining room table,” said Farmen.  “And then, every week, people would come and say, oh my neighbor wants in, or my mom saw it and she wants in, so little by little, it has grown and grown.”Now Vera serves more than four hundred families with her produce business.  Here’s how she does it. Every Thursday, she calls around to area farmers and distributors to find out what’s available that is fresh,  local, organic, and available at a good value.  She then sends out an e-mail on Friday of what will be coming. People can place their orders on her website, and on Monday, their produce is waiting for them.“It comes straight to us, and it gets to you. It doesn’t have to go through  a distribution center first, it doesn’t have to go to back room,  it doesn’t have to be brought onto store floor and taken back in at night. It’s to you, and you can take it home,” said Farmen."

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